Published online by Cambridge University Press: 01 January 2020
The ‘Venetian’ composer Agostino Steffani and the Modenese diplomat Giuseppe Riva became acquainted at Hanover in 1719. Steffani had first resided there between 1688 and 1703, when he served the Hanoverian Duke Ernst August and his son Georg Ludwig as a musician and special envoy (he went to Vienna, for example, to negotiate the elevation of Hanover to an electorate, a distinction approved by the emperor in 1692). He had been ordained a Catholic priest at Munich in 1680, received a sinecure appointment as an abbot in 1683 and been made an apostolic prothonotary by 1695. His diplomatic and evangelical achievements on behalf of the church were recognized in 1706, when he was named Bishop of Spiga, and 1709, when he was appointed Apostolic Vicar of North Germany. His home in 1703–9 was in Düsseldorf, where he served as chief councillor to Johann Wilhelm, the Catholic Elector Palatine, but in November 1709 he returned to Hanover, a Lutheran city in Lower Saxony nearer the centre of his extensive vicariate.